There’s so much I haven’t done yet. The thought came upon me not, surprisingly enough, whilst packing, but in my bedroom last night when I’d read the news that Nora Ephron had died at age 71. When you’re a kid, you think 71 is an appropriate age for someone to die. 71, 79, take some, lose some. “Not too shabby,” I had said to my father when in reply to my question, “How old was Grandma when she died of cancer from an unknown origin?” He’d said “79.” I hadn’t said this when I was thirteen, but thirty-six, believing that 79 wasn’t all that young. But, today, I realize it’s almost always too young to die. Unless, like my grandfather who died at age 94, you’re begging “for the good Lord to take me already.” He’d lost his sight, a lot of his hearing. Couldn’t enjoy the sound of a ball game. Once the taste buds go, what’s the point anyway? I don’t mean this entirely, yet, I do.

There’s so much I’m not doing, so much I am. Though I suppose I’m conflicted about the order. What should I prioritize? I worry too many of us stress over making our mark on this world in accomplishments and careers instead of on improving the lives of those around us, including our own. I’m not there yet. With Straight Up and Dirty being published, I was there, in a flow, and I really felt I was helping people.

I haven’t moved to New York, yet. I’m still here in Boca Raton, wondering how to spend my last few days in town. We leave on a one-way ticket to New York this Friday. Today a Groupon of a cleaning service arrives, as I supervise the scrubbing of showers and the wiping down of the refrigerator interior–not exactly on the Florida top-10 list.

Yesterday I gave up on my Gluten-Free adventure. I believe it’s been a month, at least, of being Gluten Free. In that time, I’ve gained TWELVE POUNDS, I’ve become depressed, and I want to karate chop everyone, including my sweet beans… the mood swings are nightmarish. So, I gorged on Gluten. And you know what happened to my intestines? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’m fine. As suspected, I do not have a gluten sensitivity, or at least, not yet.

I’ve had four acupuncture sessions with an acupuncturist trained in China, who told me “This problem not from stress, so not so fast to fix. Weak kidney takes long time.” After four sessions, I feel no difference whatsoever. Because I’ve always been relaxed, so it’s not a question of needing to relax or be silent–I already do these things well. I don’t know what I’m supposed to expect from these sessions. I’m relaxed when I arrive, just as relaxed when I leave, no difference. In general my mood is still a shit basket of angry kittens. I’m depressed, and add imbalance to injury, none of my clothes fit.

I’ve researched doctors in New York, and I’m willing to try another acupuncturist, if anyone has a recommendation. I’ve been taking Chaste Tree Berry 3x a day (no noticeable difference, but the directions say I must do this for 8-10 weeks, at least. I’ve also been taking tiny black balls meant to strengthen my kidney, I’ve felt no difference, either. I just don’t know what to do. I’m nearly ready to give in to bioidentical hormones. Though when I research New York doctors who specialize in HRT (hormone replacement therapy), none of them actually accept insurance. And a 1 hour meeting with one of these doctors is $2000, or with a nurse practitioner, $500, plus the cost of all the bio-identical hormones and suggested supplements–none of which is covered by insurance. Dr. Erika Schwartz and Dr. Michelle Warren are the two I’ve found who specialize in this area.

Why isn’t there a doctor who deeply believes in herbs and acupuncture in combination with Eastern medical practices? There’s no way I’m paying $500 to meet with a nurse, not even to get to see the doctor! That’s insane. Especially when I can go to a reproductive endocrinologist for $20, who can prescribe the same hormones. Only I want to find one who handles at least a dozen patients who fall into the “too young for this shit” category. How I find this, I don’t know.

Today, before the cleaners arrive, I’m willing myself to the gym, to basically watch other people sweat. This is likely why I haven’t posted lately. Because I feel like a sad sack with nothing to add to anyone’s lives… yet.



  1. I am still processing Nora Ephron’s death. Like it was an April Fool’s joke or something, because she was 71. And she had more marbles than the average 27 year old. And she looked great! I had/have such a girl crush on her,..I have been waiting for her next movie to come out…

    I am so sorry to hear about your hormone issues. It is along the same lines as Nora Ephro’s death. You are only a few years older than me (negligble, really). $2000 to see a specialist? WTF. Before I read your post, I heard her on NPR talking about aging/death and you shouldn’t wait until your deathbed to have your deathbed meal, because you might have throat cancer and not be able to eat it. She meant this literally and metaphorically, of course.

    Did the gluten-free diet make you depressive, or was it there before?

  2. Any time I’ve had acupuncture, they’ve always given me the little black balls. I usually end up dropping some and they end up rolling around my kitchen floor and then I’ll find some random ones around the house a year later. Do they just hand out the black balls to anyone with an ailment? hahhaa

    I’ve been doing some work with a Life Coach. After getting laid off from my job, moving out of state for my husband, gaining weight, and becoming a stay at home mom, I’ve felt like I’m not ‘moving forward’ anymore and have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I’ve been skeptical of the ‘coaching’ thing in the past, but I think it’s helping me to at least think more positive thoughts and work through some thinking that I didn’t realize was holding me back for a very long time.

  3. When you move to NY – I have the acupuncturist for you (and, if it helps you trust me at all, I work with your cousin Abbe, so, ask her if I am trustworthy – I am) Her name is Adrienne and she is outstanding and will talk everything through with you and get to know you and what is going on with your body. I don’t feel super comfortable leaving her info here but, shoot me a quick email – I think you have access to it by my posting here and I will send you her email. She has an office in the city and in westchester. She really is amazing.

  4. Sad sack- I totally get that. For the first time in my life, my clothes don’t fit. I don’t get it and I definitely don’t like it. It’s amazing how that can totally change my mood.

  5. Funny that whenever I read your words I see myself. I have come to depend upon the knowing that I am indeed, not alone.

  6. I have an amazing acupuncturist in NYC. She specializes in women’s health and is a PhD in nursing and a professor at NYU, so she has a great clinical background but is also very holistic in her approach. I see her for other issues, but she sees lots of women for reproductive health problems. Email me if you want her contact info. She is great and I wouldn’t be surprised if she also has a suggestion for a doctor that incorporates herbs/alternative medicine into their practice. let me know if you want this!

  7. Hang in there, I am learning that I hate doctors. They are dumbasses that memorized a lot of medicines. I thought of you when I saw the news on Nora.
    miss you.

  8. Hi Steph,

    a very good friend of mine is a naturopathic physician in New York; let me know if you’d like to have his name/address. He is a lovely person, I’m sure he can at least give you some advice.

    Hang in there!

  9. Not doing anything seems to be the essence of your life in the last few years. Once the book/movie/tv deals did not materialize after your super lucky book deal timing, you seemed to flounder. Planning parties that never happened, decorating ideas that never came to be, cakes never baked, crafts never crafted, etc. For better or worse, you got the husband, kids and somehow……lots of doing nothing much.

    Don’t hate, just my observation.

    1. Author

      The parties did happen, the menus made for dinners enjoyed, cakes made and devoured (and then some). So, I don’t feel bad about any of that. You’re emphasizing career, and I too, have been looking at “just” that. Which was the point of this post, that I believe we focus too much on this, on not on the bigger things, the things that bring us joy AND fulfill our obligations. “Lots of doing nothing much” isn’t a statement. It was a question, and being an active mother answers it.

  10. Go see Cristina at Element Natural Healing Arts in Cobble Hill. NOT anyone else who works there, just her. She’s amazing.

  11. hang in there; moving is so stressful.
    try to curb the weight gain; you look so great;
    love your honesty.
    keep writing!
    beth g

  12. Also I’d recommend sticking with the acupuncture. It does take a while. I did it for a year and my major health complaint went away. I used to have to take blood pressure meds and now I don’t.

  13. Ah, babe, hang in there. We all get shit news every now and again. I have a big old honking cystocele (Google it)and I am only 45. At some point, it will have to be repaired. I allowed myself two days to be bummed. Two days when I didn’t exercise or leave the house because I was afraid the damn thing would get bigger if I walked around. But then I remembered my friend’s sister who has ALS (no cure), and my other friend who is fighting cancer (I’m sure she’d trade me for my cystocele), and then there’s the other friend who is having an operation to remove a brain tumor . . . You know what I say, if there’s a problem and it’s fixable, I don’t look at it as a problem anymore. You’re going to be just fine, and that my dear is everything.

  14. Wow, this post instigated a rush of thoughts. In NY you should have no trouble finding a good integrative doctor–why don’t you see if Dr. Weil has any referrals on his website or email/call his contact people. An increasing # of doctors are thinking this way and you are wise to check it out first.

    I almost fell over when you wrote that you were relaxed and relax well. We’ve never met, but your descriptions of your days and activities used to sound frenetic and perfectionist oriented. Maybe that’s changed? I used to think I was a mellow person, too, but then I finally saw who I was. Too some years on me to get it. Before that, I always wondered “How could they think I’m not a mellow person?!” Ha.

    You wrote a couple books, which is a huge achievement. I see nothing wrong in taking this time for your kids and to stabilize your home life and also your living situation. Give yourself that permission!

    I kind of resent the constant societal implication that we must always be doing something to leave a mark on society. Maybe it’s ok at this point to hang with the kids, work on marital issues and take care of your health. Maybe it’s all a big stew that will one day come out creatively, but I hope you can let go of any stressing about it and enjoy the cooking process.

    I get your bit of angst. After taking two years off in semi-retirement to write, I got antsy and tired of doing nothing society thinks is productive, plus I missed making money, which I’ve done my whole life. I’m going back to teaching college in August. But now I wonder if it’s the right thing–it’s cutting into my plans to have fun, some of the trips we want to take, my leisure. I’m wondering why I’m driven to go back to work, even though I love teaching college kids. Never know what the right decision is, so you just have to pick a direction & embrace it.

    Luck to you

    1. Ha, totally agree. Stephanie is anything but a relaxed person…guess she is in denial too.

  15. When I read the sad news of Nora Ephron’s way too early passing, I immediately thought of you. It’s crazy, thinking about the effect the death of one person I never met would have on another person I’ve never met.
    I see the point Anon is making and maybe some truth in her remarks.I also think with crazy early menopause and TX to FL to NY are a lot to deal with. Have you read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron?

    At any rate, I hope you feel better soon.


  16. You might want to post something on the RESOLVE website…although you aren’t trying to get pregnant, if you post that you are looking for an RE in the NY area specializing in your particular issues, you will probably get a good response. Cornell and NYU are the top 2 for REs, although both have looooong waits to get an initial appt. But, a lot of the doctors do take insurance.

  17. >In that time, I’ve gained TWELVE POUNDS, I’ve become depressed, and I want to karate chop everyone, including my sweet beans… the mood swings are nightmarish.

    Wow, sounds rough. I’ve heard positive reports from people on gluten-free diets, but for most people, it’s most likely a fad with no positives and many negatives. (People with allergies to gluten excepted, of course). It may be like the raw food craze. Here today, gone tomorrow.

    Even so, kudos for the month-long experiment, taking a proactive role in your health, and putting up with these difficulties. You’re doing exactly what’s appropriate–experimenting and crossing things off. Eventually, you’ll find answers and treatments. Your natural bravery and optimism (which your readers are all familiar with) will help you win the fight.

  18. My mother will be 95 in December. She still drives herself to the grocery store and plays cards on the Internet. She lives in the house I grew up in and is still the smartest person I know.

    Hope you find some excellent doctors/answers in New York..will watch for all of your updates!

    Ann in Austin

  19. Gosh – I’m now 1 teen and 2 20’s mom. Hm. Maye I’m about to be me.

    I call it ‘whipsawing through the universe’… a time of great unrest. First – yay for you moving back to NYC! (sorry, moving is a bitch). Ick about your health concerns and issues… and don’t give too much weight to the weight gain…when you’re stabilized, it will stabilize. You’re returning to your happy place, older, wiser, richer…you’ll be a rock star.

    Not to sound all stalker-ish, but gosh, I’ve missed you…missed your musings and (being brutally honest and wildly insightful (ahem)) the opportunity to air my own shit. Kind of like when one of your favorite friends unexpectedly goes on vacation or gets laryngitis…there has been a distinct void, and I’m happy to see you writing again.

    It has been a bitch-slapping, whip-sawing, yee-hawing and holy cluster f-ing time around here. Just when I thought I had earned a break as I successfully raised the babies and was now on easy street, every other thing has gone distinctly to shit. Hm…not exactly true.

    Truthfully, most things are good. My house is not on fire, I have a job I love, there are roses in the garden, the babies are grown, good and astonishing.

    It’s just that the village is crumbling around me. Every time I reach to shore up one pillar, another falls. I stick cement in the weakest one, and the strongest one falters. I’m precariously balancing the village elders as they all decide that ‘death by current ailment’ is the fun summer project. It is sooooooo not fun.

    When we’re all back on our feet, I have a few stories to share. The one about my parents’ 52nd anniversary the other night and the unbearable, unimaginable, unthinkable love that they share. The fact that my 25th anniversary was last night, and I raised a champagne toast to myself on my lovely deck under the warm summer stars, to my nearly 14th divorce anniversary. The lovah who rocks my world in ways I would never have imagined. Lots going on.

    Anyway – so good to see you. Be happy and well as you settle into your new place. Hugs to the beans and Phil. Hope to see you in New York in September.

    1. are you hijacking this post again?????? lady, give us, me a break.

  20. Hi – just a couple of things that have helped me with moods and hormone imbalance. Firstly, exercise, make sure you get plenty – the cardiovascular type that gets the blood pumping. Then there is some homeopathic tablets or drops called Mastodynon. They have the chaste berry plus other stuff known to help with hormone imbalance. The other thing that helps me is flaxseed. I get them whole and then put them in the coffee grinder and put a heaped dessertspoon or more in my cereal. I used to get wicked PMT but with this routine it is much better.

    1. YES exercise! Being in early meno myself and having seen about 20 different doctors in all different fields of expertise of eastern/western origin they all agreed on ONE thing: EXERCISE.
      Intense sweaty exercise that gets your heart rate up and blood pumping. Neurologist called it “the great equalizer” for absolutely everything from anxiety & depression to migraines & parkinson tremors.
      I hope the chaste tree works for you as well as it did for me. Dont forget high quality fish oil supplements – it is antidepressant, antiinflammatory – great for your heart AND brain.

  21. Ten years ago I was having significant health problems and saw an acupuncturist, Dr. Nan Lu. It helped tremendously; doctors told me I would never get off my medication and I did. I attribute this to the acupuncture (partly), the herbs (not sure), and the qigong exercises (definitely helped the most). When I saw him, he was located in Chinatown, in a nondescript building. Although I no longer see him, he has moved up in the traditional chinese medicine world and is located in the west 20s. Best Wishes.

    1. Almost forgot, Beth Israel by Union Square/Grammercy has an excellent integrative health department.

  22. If you feel like hiking up to Kingston or Rhinebeck, see Dr. Bloch: http://www.health-quest.org/body_mp.cfm?id=837 I don’t particularly care for him, but I see one of the nurse practictioners at his practice for my routine gyn care. I’ve followed her to several practices in the area over the years and only rarely have had to consult w/the MD in a particular practice. Anyway, Bloch is a big fan of bioidenticals, nutrition, alternative methods, etc. The practice also includes a medical aesthetics dept for botox and thermage and other face/body type stuff. And I know the practice takes most/all major insurances. No doctor up here can afford to be snotty about insurance.

  23. Stephanie has very clearly been raising terrific children and has been a terrific mom. I work with children and am a mother to a six year old and I feel very confident in saying that Stephanie clearly has her children as her top priority and is a very loving person. She has also accomplished inspiring a great number of people through this blog. She is the most prolific blog writer I follow and I appreciate it greatly.

    1. In that case, you need to widen your circle of bloggers. Prolific doesn’t describe Stephanie. But good for you not being snarky.

      1. I don’t read this blog all the time, but I smile whenever I see your posts, ANON. I always agree with you.

        1. …I just noticed my typo. I didn’t mean to use the extra comma. I do know better.

  24. It seems like you’re dabbling in this and that alternative approach hoping for a magic bullet. I think it’s important to wake up to the fact that you have a real medical issue that needs to be treated – with medicine. Western medicine, double blind studied, researched, journaled medicine. Keep dabbling if it does something for your mental state, but for cryin’ out loud, take care of the issue first.

    Get the appointment with the endocrinologist who takes your insurance. See if what she or he prescribes works. Yes, ask about the research, but don’t keep ignoring it hoping that herbs or colonics or aligning your chakras will make it all go away. It won’t.

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